Lately, I’ve been thinking about what being present truly means, exploring the boundaries of living in the moment, and thinking ahead or behind.
There’s obviously some value in planning ahead. Dinner isn’t going to magically appear on the table. Vacations aren’t going to plan themselves.
Likewise reflecting on the past helps us to make more aligned choices in the future.
Being present isn’t always easy. How many times I’ve left a gathering and wondered to myself if I’d said or done something inappropriate or rude, dwelling on the possibilities of my own shortcomings. Or if I’d had too much to eat and I’d angst over the fact that I need to once and for all learn how to have better portion control. All of the worry about what I’d done making me feel sick and anxious.
Far too often I’ll find a reason to worry about the future. If I don’t start saving more, as Carrie Bradshaw once said: “I will literally be the old lady who lived in her shoes”. Or if my husband continues to eat fried food he’s going to clog his arteries, and how can I possibly get him to eat more vegetables on a regular basis.
I’m finding through my spiritual development that a lot of this fear-based thinking is pretty fucking senseless. The past is done, it’s over and until someone invents the time machine, there’s no way to go back and redo it. There’s no way to take back the possible rude things I’ve said, the extra cookie I’d eaten, or the expensive pair of shoes I bought six months ago and only wore once. And even if I could go back, I wouldn’t want to.
As a believer in the law of attraction, I know that my emotions are a clear indication of what I’ll be attracting more of into my life, so it’s inconducive to continue to think about things that make me feel fearful.
This has left me recognizing that It’s best to think about these things for a small amount of time, only to reflect and ask myself how I would prefer things to be, then moving on to a new subject.
I can feel that my mind is becoming stronger with more practice and less time spent lost in thoughts of worry, the more time spent appreciating the goodness of my life as it is right now.
Just the other afternoon sitting out on my balcony, a gorgeous sunny Miami day, some music playing in the background, and I was feeling very alive. I thought to myself this is what it feels like to be fully present, watching the birds swoop around the sky, noticing the noise of the train passing by, listening to the laughter coming from the restaurant below, feeling the breeze on my face. I felt warm and bubbly, calm and blissful.
Sure not every moment is a sunny day with a gentle breeze, and it’s not realistic to think that it can be (or is it?), but there is much gold to be found those moments. I gain such profound insight and clarity as if the gates of intuitive knowledge are open and spilling into my mind effortlessly. It’s in those moments that I feel most aligned with my truth and the world around me, and I can recognize the ease of the unfolding of life.
I’m learning that meditation doesn’t have to be sitting cross-legged on the floor with my eyes closed, but that it can be a way of living. Just like in yoga practice, I can always bring myself back to this moment, to my breath, to a place of observation without judgment, to the here and now.